Raise a toast to higher wine profiles

Articles
February 21, 2011

Raise a toast to higher wine profiles

Wine by the glass at Wegmans? Pairings with food in the store's dining area? Wine kiosks that dispense bottles? It's all happening, observes The Morning Call. These are more than inventive ways to sell wine - they stretch the supermarket's boundaries, and set a tone for shopping experiences that might include less resistance to impulse sales.

Wine by the glass at Wegmans? Pairings with food in the store's dining area? Wine kiosks that dispense bottles? It's all happening, observes The Morning Call. These are more than inventive ways to sell wine - they stretch the supermarket's boundaries, and set a tone for shopping experiences that might include less resistance to impulse sales.

Clearly, Wegmans has considered how wine could help improve total-store performance, add more cachet to its offerings, and connect shopping to superior meals at home. If more merchants decided to raise wine's profile in new or similar ways, the 'healthful beverage' image could also come more into play to lift the category and beyond.

Moreover, a potential federal Tax and Trade Bureau decision about whether to list nutrition information on wine bottle labels could affect consumer perception of wine. The Wine Institute would like such labeling to be voluntary, and be able "to generalize the calorie and carb counts on wine," rather than analyze each vintage of each variety, The Associated Press reports. Whatever the disposition, F3 believes it won't upset the positive imagery and growth track of wine.

Dollar sales of table wine grew 4.1% to $9.32 billion in U.S. food, drug, convenience, liquor and other select channels in the 52 weeks ended December 12, 2010, according to Nielsen data. This occurred on a 3.2% equivalized unit volume gain during the period (9 liter case basis, which is equivalent to a dozen 750ml bottles).

The growth also happened despite slight price moderation. The average equivalized price of a 750ml bottle of table wine in these channels slid by six cents to $6.21 for the 52-week period, Nielsen data showed.

By bottle size, the two commanding segments of table wine are:

  • The 750ml bottle, which accounts for a 67.5% share of dollar volume. Its dollar sales rose 5.2% to $6.29 billion in the latest 52 weeks.
  • The 1.5 liter bottle, which accounts for a 21.1% share of dollar volume. Its dollar sales were up 1.3% to $1.96 billion in the period.

Red wine (49.9% share of dollar volume) is more popular than white wine (43.3%) and blush (6.8%). Dollar sales of red rose 3.9% to $4.65 billion in the latest full year, while dollar sales of white were up 5.7% to $4.03 billion, according to Nielsen.

Relative to country of origin, the United States is expanding its commanding share of dollar sales - currently 71.5% for domestics on the strength of a 5.8% dollar sales gain to $6.66 billion. This compares with a 0.3% growth to $2.66 billion and a 28.5% share for imported table wines.

The five most popular varietals in descending order of dollar volume share are:

  • Chardonnay (21.7% dollar share), up 2.3% to $2.03 billion in the latest 52 weeks.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (14.8% dollar share), up 6.0% to $1.38 billion.
  • Merlot (9.7% dollar share), down 3.7% to $905.7 million.
  • Pinot Grigio (8.0% dollar share), up 5.4% to $747.5 million.
  • Pinot Noir (5.8% dollar share), up 9.9% to $539.8 million.